Another fellow cyclist and blogger had spoken some on the issue in one of her recent posts and described it as slipping into a very dark and lonely place. I would have to say that it is a pretty accurate description and it really isn't a place I'm anxious to go to right at this time.
I had spent the previous afternoon visiting with my friend Andrea, whom I teach with. We discussed this along with some people's need to get away and just be by themselves. I've always been one of these people. Others tend to look at it as rather awkward and unusual, but those of us that need that time away see it often times as an almost spiritual experience. Friends would often give me a hard time and family (Mother and Father especially) would chastise me for just taking off by myself. My folks never did like that part of bringing me up and it still worries them. As of late I am feeling more and more like I need to have some time off by myself to just think about life, decompress, meditate, push myself physically, read, and whatever else comes to mind.
The thing about it that most people don't understand is the fact that it has nothing to do with me not wanting to be with them. I love my friends and family. Patti and I have had this discussion a lot and I've told her that it is just that I sometimes feel that I need to escape, get away, or whatever you want to call it, to have time alone. It's just me and part of who I am.
So yesterday morning I spent the first forty-five minutes just wandering around the house trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do with myself. Normally I would be going off to school, but now that vacation is here this is not an option. School keeps me grounded, focused, gives me some direction, and also provides me with the companionship of a great group of colleagues, all of whom I grow to miss as the summer passes.
One of my issues is that I form emotional bonds with people quite easily and I don't necessarily deal very well with change. I get used to seeing everyone in the mornings, hearing their good morning greetings, getting that good morning hug, and just spending a few brief moments visiting. When school ends for the year I tend to miss that.
When I get into these funks one thing I tend to do is beat myself up physically. Rather than just lay around like a lot of people that experience depression I push myself. Once I snapped out of the fog I was in and had my coffee I took Bella, our dog, out for a brief walk. The air was quite heavy and thick and they were forecasting temps to be in the low to mid nineties. Not a good time to be pushing yourself hard and even more so if your body is not acclimated to it. This is our first real hot spell with high dew points (near tropical).Too damn hot!!
The plan was to get in a solid run and then some mountain biking up at the park. I finally left the house for my run at about 10 A.M. and temps were already in the mid eighties with the dew point hovering around 67. Very hot and very sticky. Obviously it wasn't long into the run before I was soaked with sweat. After fifty minutes I was foaming at the mouth and I believe I may have frightened some people in the neighborhood. I must have looked like I was rabid or something of that nature. In temps like this I tend to get dehydrated rather quickly so taking in water and supplemental electrolytes is very important. Not to mention the fact that this body of mine doesn't tolerate the heat and humidity well anyway.It was good to have some shade along the way. This one of my favorite points along the trail.
In the past year I've had issues with ventricular tachycardia, but hadn't had any episodes until after my run. It took about forty-minutes to an hour for my heart rate to settle down into a normal rhythm. After taking in some more fluids and eating, I rinsed off quick in the shower, got my camelback ready, changed into my cycling clothes and headed up to the park for 2-3 hours of hard mountain biking. The temp when I started riding was 88, when I finished it was hovering around 94 degrees.Making sure I'm prepared for the heat and humidity
I actually felt pretty good throughout the first hour, but about half way through the second hour the heat was beginning to take its toll. Two hours into the ride my body was suggesting that maybe I should quit, but my mind said...NO! Keep pushing. After another forty minutes and with 34.5 miles in I had to admit defeat and stop. I had the shakes along with some chills and my legs were not functioning so well when I got off the bike. I was probably teetering on the edge of heat exhaustion.
When I walked into class it was sort of like a little homecoming celebration. A lot hellos, hugs, and a good deal of teasing about me being Maple Grove's cover boy for cycling. The recent issue of the magazine has a photo of me on my bike up at Elm Creek. It was all kind of cool, but also a bit embarrassing. However, not as embarrassing as our instructor Jody's photo of her in a recent triathlon with her aero helmet on backwards. I'll post on that as soon as I get my hands on that photo. The thought of that will keep me smiling today.
As usual...Jody didn't disappoint. She kicked our asses for sixty minutes straight and I sweat out more fluid than I had in quite sometime. My legs are now officially dead. Well, if not dead they are somewhat stale.